The Day I Stopped Speaking to My Wife

I remember the early days of our relationship. In the 9 months between meeting and marrying, my wife and I were only in the same city a mere 40 days or so. We were divided most of the time by an ocean, but thankfully had great support in both the US and UK. Therefore, in those many days apart (even when we were both in the UK), we spent much time emailing and texting by phone. I’m talking about emailing and texting a whole lot! It was all-consuming as we looked to stay in touch day after day after day.

As our relationship heightened, we began calling each other, though we also maintained the little love notes via text as well. Our mobile phones were the major place of communication. I remember one month my UK mobile phone bill was around 85 GBP, which was some 50 GBP more than the normal monthly bill. I was shocked, but it was truly worth it in my eyes.

We also moved into the realm of love-letter writing. After moving back to the US, being even further apart from my beloved, this became an integral part of staying in contact, expressing our heart’s desire for one another. And, of course, both of us saved each and every one of those emotion-stirring, affectionate letters. They were not just words. They were an expression of the love we had for one another. And being so far apart, you can imagine their role in articulating our deep affections.

It was extremely difficult following our engagement in the US. After visiting the US for a full 7 weeks, my beloved had to return to the UK to prepare for our wedding and finalising details before moving to the US. It was a painful 9 weeks apart. But, again, I am thankful for the frequent phone calls and almost weekly letters.

But, of course, once we were married, we were able to be together forever. We were no longer divided by the space of an ocean, thousands of miles apart. We were now joined together as husband and wife.

And, for all these years, even through difficulties and struggles and misunderstandings and arguments and wrong words and wrong actions (mainly on my part!), we have looked to remain true to one another by God’s grace. From multiple moves across oceans, to the bearing of our children, to struggling in how to lead a church forward in a completely different culture, to handing that ministry over for new opportunities in God, we long to stay faithful to the love we hold one for the other. Through all this time, we came to know one another’s likes and dislikes, dreams and passions, and even what we share in common (like sushi!).

In the years of our growing relationship, we would even pull out old emails and love letters, to read over them, and be inspired by the love that began years ago. Of course, this is common to many a couples. But from our own perspective, we’re not thinking about all those others. Their love compares in no way to ours. This is part of our journey of the expression of the covenant love we are growing in for one another.

And how about the conversations, the deep exchanges over cups of coffee, over romantic dinners, over date-nights out, over holiday time away. Sharing of those desires and dreams I pointed to earlier. Even learning how to work through arguments and disagreements and deep wounds. The poured-out prayers to our Father for all sorts of things also knit our hearts together.

Yet, there was the day – the day I decided it was best that I stopped speaking to my wife.

Now wait a minute, don’t get mad at me just yet. It’s actually all ok.

You see, the day I made such a decision, I sat down with my wife and presented her with a gift. A rather amazing gift, I might add. It was a collage of all the love letters, emails and texts I had sent to her over our years of love, all bound into a beautiful anthology. I was even able to remember the details of quite a few of our conversations. And so I also included those within the volume.

As I handed her this hand-crafted book, I explained that it contained all my love in word form. Therefore, because she now had this extensive record, I no longer needed to express my love through the vehicle of words. We had reached a place where such expressions were no longer needed. And if she ever found herself questioning my love, questioning what I thought about her, well, she could read the text. There she would find the unveiling of my true love, all in the words we had shared for years past.

Ok, I’m sure you have easily caught on that I speak in parable here.

This never happened. Well, most of it did. But not the part about deciding to no longer speak to my wife. And I would never, ever desire to do such. Such would actually become counter-productive to the covenant relationship in which we have been joined together.

Now, I could actually put together such a record of the emails, love letters and conversations we have held in years past. That would be quite a gift! And I did something like this for our 5th anniversary. Such could be revisited over and over again as an inspiring reminder of our love for one another. But it would never actually replace the reality of real and authentic relationship. If I ever suggested such, well, my wife might not be too pleased. And that is quite an understatement.

Yet, I believe this can and does happen for much of the people of God. For many, it is somehow easy to accept that God no longer speaks because, well, we now have the bound anthology of the canon of Scripture. It’s all finalized. Or, if he does speak, it is only within the context of the words of those previous centuries.

But I believe such betrays the very nature of our God, a nature that is relational at its core, with communication being the very essence of God’s relational nature.

Please don’t completely misunderstand this statement here, but: we are not ultimately people of the book. We are ultimately relational beings, sons and daughters of our Father. We are ultimately people of the Spirit, the Spirit who has been sent to continue to communicate and speak on behalf of the Father and Son.

If I cause anyone to stop in their tracks, I’m fine with that. But try not to miss the point. I am not so much addressing the nature of Scripture. I am not here to say that there is no great investment within the communicative-speaking nature of our God as shown in the revelation of the Bible. Matter of fact, just as my wife actually does find an expression of the unveiling of my love in keeping emails, letters and conversations within a safe-keep box (and I’ve kept quite a few things from her), we find an even greater display of God’s redemptive speech and acts within the text of Scripture.

But my wife would never bestow upon all of that written communication as the sole source of our relationship. It is para-revelatory, if you will. It goes hand in hand with the actual relationship we share on a daily basis. Actually, it might even become subsequent to the real love we share through being together and sharing deep, intimate conversation together.

So, you see the parable breaks down somewhat, as I am not relegating God’s revelation in Scripture as merely a side-project. But each parable has a major point, and that chief point I am looking to bring across is that our revelation and understanding of our Father must be seen in cultivating a real relationship together. And that real relationship consists of both actual speaking and listening one to the other.

It’s not even about investing our understanding of his voice mainly in the biblical words given in the past. It is, but to solely invest such into the Bible is, again, to betray a God who has been speaking and revealing and unveiling himself from the beginning (which includes well before our beginning). And I can only imagine he desires to do the same into the age to come.

Imagine those who recorded what has now been canonized into the Bible. I believe they would not be able to fathom a God who stopped revealing himself. Imagine ourselves in the age to come. As we hear the voice of the Father, we might just be filled with confusion as to why we ever thought he stopped actually speaking in the first place.

Again, for something so core, so essential, to the nature of our God, one cannot fathom he would simply stop.

I will never, ever stop speaking and unveiling my heart to my beloved, my wife. And I believe the same stands true for the One who has always spoken, is speaking, and will remain speaking for the age to come.

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28 thoughts on “The Day I Stopped Speaking to My Wife

  1. Scott,
    Do you truly believe cessationists believe that God no longer communicates with us?
    Am I misunderstanding your portrayal?
    I think I see a false dilemma: Either you are a continuationist, or you don’t believe God speaks to us today.
    Seeking clarification.

    • It’s a parable to consider the implications. If we hold that God communicates in actual real ways today, in a plethora of ways, including word format, then I think this is the proper track to follow.

  2. Great parable.

    God is Spirit, and we worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Well, we should communicate with Him in Spirit and in truth, as well. Certainly the Spirit uses the scriptures as a LARGE part of that communication, but we can’t shut off the other avenues He uses. It’s sad many have come so far as to NEVER trust an inner thought or feeling as being from the Spirit, for fear of the possibility of corruption from the “heart”. But the scripture says the Spirit GUARDS our hearts. We need to believe that and trust in His other voices.

  3. Why ya gotta do this to me? WHY!?!?!?!
    You had me goin that whole time. Here I’m ready to pull out the Kleenex for a heart squeezing romantic payoff and you turn into a polemics piece. In defense of a position that with some qualification I would generally agree with you on, but not for the reasons you give.

    I would never equate my subjective experiences of God with His inscripturated, universally binding revelation, That said, I thank the Lord for the love between yourself and you good lady.

    HAHA!! Yes, it’s true ladies. That bill could have been 10 ten times even the obscene number that it already was and he would have paid it with a smile 🙂 Isn’t that right Scott? Yes, we men need to never forget those days when nothing was a great enough obstacle to keep us from that glorious creature that we are now long married to,

  4. Even the Scripture Canon/Text is still alive: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Rom. 8: 16) And Paul further relates our place of being “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Verse 17, ESV) The whole Union with God In Christ, is faith and the experiential of God Himself! But as Paul also notes, the/our sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8: 18) God’s future glory is yet to come! We taste it now, and have our union ‘In Christ’. But eternal union simply does not come (fully/personally) until death, or “Rapture” and Resurrection! And “Jesus Christ’ is still the “Logos” and the “Rhema”! See Jude 1: 1…”To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.” With verses 24 and 25: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” The “onus” i.e. burden/power and responsibility, is in the doctrine of God Himself In Christ: His Lordship & Saviorhood!

    No “straw men” please!

  5. Hi Scott – thanks for your wonderful, encouraging portayal of the beauty of love between a man and a woman – particularly for me as a single man 🙂

  6. Fr. Robert says:
    Agree! But a Christian teacher and theolog he ain’t… Not yet anyway! The true pastor-teacher has the absolute presup of the Word Of God!

    You mean like that degenerate dialectician Karl Barth and his 35 year live in harlot Charlotte von Kirschbaum HAHA!!! You mean like the presup of the word like those 2 pagans had LOL!

    Scott may not be a “theolog” by Barth’s standards, but he would NEVER do to his wife what Barth did to his. Sadly, he’ll be on your side with Barth no doubt anyway. Such is today’s sick church.

    My two questions to you are still waiting Fr. Robert. And will be until the pyramids return to the dusts of Giza should the Lord tarry. 🙂

    • Well I don’t see Barth so much as a pastoral man per se, but as I have said, more a Church Father type! Note, even the old heretic Origen (on some subjects) would be considered somewhat in the latter.

      Btw, again, WE MUST NOT judge what we are quite ignorant of, another man’s heart! And I have no doubt that Barth and Miss Von K. will be in the glory! All by GOD’s grace & glory! And btw, too, though I don’t agree with Scott theologically, or much biblically, I am sure too he is a Christian! And hopefully in time, his theology will ripen and mature!

      YOU, know where I’m at, fire the two questions, but only if there really biblical and theological! I have made my case for Barth’s personal life already!

      • Right HAHA!!!!
        “Ask whatever you want except the questions that really matter that I have no answers for” LOL!!

        WE MUST NOT judge what we are quite ignorant of, another man’s heart!
        Is that so 🙂
        And I have no doubt that Barth and Miss Von K. will be in the glory!
        No doubt huh? LOL!! Looks like you know their hearts pretty well as long it means getting the result you want HAHA!!!
        Look, if those abhorrent degenerate heretics were Christians my bible has no meaning.

        If you have your breath back now, make it somewhere else. I have already have to apologize to Scott for this, which this statement should now be taken as.

      • @Greg: Indeed you think your some kind of “prophet” yourself! I judge their word’s in the context of their belief, biblically and theologically, and hopefully spiritually. You judge them by YOUR idea of God’s grace and mercy, talk about “abhorrent”, which is actually legal and law oriented! Were ALL going to be very surprised at the Bema-Seat of Christ! It will be first Law then Gospel! But biblical Justification measures first the Law, Christ for us, in vicarious substitution, and then Christ in us, Sanctification! St. Paul and Luther, as too Calvin. Sometimes I wonder if many of you overt modern Calvinist types even read and know your Bible!

      • Seeing the two of you “converse” is at points humorous and also sad.

        It’s no wonder non-Christians have NO idea what they should believe to be “right” before God, when even self-proclaimed theologs as yourselves can’t/won’t come to a consensus regarding simple saving faith in Christ.

      • @Ken: Yes, this was an unfortunate place for Greg to express an ongoing debate between us over the well known theologian Karl Barth and his fellow worker Ms. Von Kirschbaum, and mine also for engaging, at least here. However, I will never regret engaging over the “Battle” for the both the Word of God, and the Gospel! This is always quite a warfare! Something I wish more Christians were engaged in more fully and correctly! And includes you too mate! 🙂

      • Fr. Robert pridefully exclaims: “Ken… would not get a line of the “theolog” Barth!
        If true, he should thank God for it, he’s much better off.

        I didn’t think you’d want anybody to see THAT and I thank you for confirming as much. You can look down your arrogant nose at Ken for not being a “theolog” all you want, but he’s a good man as far as I’ve seen.

        Ken, check that link for what our dear confused endlessly eclectic “theolog” Fr. Robert here doesn’t want you to see. Feel free to chime there or anywhere else except here.

        Scott, this is all my fault. 😦 My ol pal just draws it outta me. I do apologize again.

      • @Greg: YOU need to shut this down “here”! We all know you want to be heard, then start and write your own blog posts! And you can back-off with the extra dark black, give us a break – please! As too the ad hominem!

      • Robert: “HE would not get a line of the “theolog” Barth!”

        Probably true for the most part, Robert. I prefer to get my truth straight from the source – the Spirit within whom we are TOLD will lead us into all truth (or is that not REALLY what that verse means?).

        I will sometimes consult learned interpretations when studying the original language isn’t enough for me to get a clear idea of meaning, or there are several possible ideas and I need to get a handle on them.

        So, if there was something I had a question on, and Barth had discussed it at some point, I might look that up (along with other’s ideas).

        But no, I don’t enjoy reading books just to read about theology. And most of it probably WOULD be over my head in regards to understanding it.

        Robert, I liked what you did with the “self-proclaimed” there. Very clever. And true. I’d rather come up with my “own” interpretation, than blindly follow someone else’s simply because they are “smarter” or more “experienced” than me. I don’t think the Spirit HIDES truth from less intelligent, less learned people. In fact, I’d say it’s probably just the opposite. Remember, scripture and the things of God are “spiritually appraised”, not SCHOLARLILY appraised.

        And Greg, thanks for the (backhanded?) compliment. I don’t consider myself a “good” man, but one that keeps an open mind even when I think I’ve discovered the truth. There is always more to learn, and I’m willing to, at the Spirit’s prompting.

        And I don’t envy either of you. It seems to me that all your knowledge just spurs you on to argue endlessly about the minutiae of the faith. I’m not sure that’s actually helping anyone, but it must feel good/important to you, or you wouldn’t continue doing it.

  7. Man did I botch those tags. If I could be such a nuisance as to ask you to delete the first one Scott? I’m so sorry man)
    Fr. Robert pridefully exclaims: “Ken… would not get a line of the “theolog” Barth!
    If true, he should thank God for it, he’s much better off.
    I didn’t think you’d want anybody to see THAT and I thank you for confirming as much. You can look down your arrogant nose at Ken for not being a “theolog” all you want, but he’s a good man as far as I’ve seen.

    Ken, check that link for what our dear confused endlessly eclectic “theolog” Fr. Robert here doesn’t want you to see. Feel free to chime there or anywhere else except here.

    Scott, this is all my fault. 😦 My ol pal just draws it outta me. I do apologize again.

  8. Ken says: “But no, I don’t enjoy reading books just to read about theology.”
    That’s what a “theolog” does. Just like the Greeks in the 17th of Acts.

    Ken says: “And most of it probably WOULD be over my head in regards to understanding it.”
    If it is then it’s uselessly and poorly written for fellow “theologs”. Theology that can’t draw the average Christian deeper into the arms of Christ and equip him for service is mental masturbation for “theologs”. Barth’s Church Dogmatics is the quintessential example as my voluminously repeated, but never answered question to Fr. Robert most poignantly evinces.

    Ken says: “I don’t think the Spirit HIDES truth from less intelligent, less learned people. In fact, I’d say it’s probably just the opposite. Remember, scripture and the things of God are “spiritually appraised”, not SCHOLARLILY appraised.”
    This is a magnificent point (with some qualification) and you’re not less intelligent anyway. Don’t listen to that.

    Ken says: “And Greg, thanks for the (backhanded?) compliment. I don’t consider myself a “good” man, but one that keeps an open mind even when I think I’ve discovered the truth. There is always more to learn, and I’m willing to, at the Spirit’s prompting.”
    It was not backhanded or condescending. You dealt with me like a grown up. A MAN with godly character. I was impressed by that which is why I remember. I was not putting you down in any way. I apologize if it sounded like that.

    Ken says: “minutiae”
    Trust me. If you read down that link above far enough you’ll see my two questions and instantly know they are not “minutiae”.

    • Greg, thank you for the kind words.

      You’re right, I shouldn’t have labelled myself less intelligent. Sometimes I get carried away with self-deprecation. I’m of average intelligence. Actually fairly good at analysis, and knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects. I wouldn’t call myself an “expert” in anything in particular, though. Certainly not theology. And I’m not interested in BEING an expert in that subject.

      I don’t do very much BOOK reading. I look into scripture when something in my life naturally leads me to look into it and from there I just follow “where the Spirit leads”. I have made some remarkable (to me) “discoveries” lately that has completely changed how I see salvation and God’s redemptive progress. But nothing changes my view of Christ, my salvation and redeemer. My feeling is that you can have a wide range of ideas regarding nearly everything in Christianity, as long as it doesn’t change the character or central, personal redemptive work of Christ. MANY people (and I think Robert MAY be one of them – I leave that up to him to confirm/deny) believe that if you don’t toe the evangelical or historical church “party line” in ANY doctrine, you aren’t believing in the “right God”. Or if you haven’t performed the necessary “steps” to obtaining salvation (as if simple faith was not enough), you may not be saved.. Unfortunately, my own sister is one such person, and she has “doubts” about my salvation because of my “odd” ideas.

      It bothers me that people don’t have a bigger view of God’s grace towards us that will ALLOW us to not KNOW (understand) God and His ways completely/”correctly”, but instead come to KNOW (experience) Him daily in our lives.

      However, I understand that people enjoy debating, especially on theological matters. That’s healthy and important, as long as it’s civil and everyone agrees that nobody is disparaging the salvation of the others. While such debating is intellectually stimulating, but I’m not sure how much it really progresses the Kingdom of God. I try to keep it to a minimum in my own life, though I admit I do engage from time to time.

      As to “minutiae”, one man’s ‘minutiae’ is another’s ‘mountain’, so that term is difficult to nail down. It can be hard to keep perspective on these things sometimes. And, no I didn’t read the page you linked to. Like I said, I read what I feel “led” to. Not knowing what the subject(s) were or my interest in said, I declined.

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